Family of Man Who Died from COVID After Wife's Workplace Infection Can Sue for Wrongful Death, Second District Holds

California's Second District Court of Appeal held Tuesday that the family of a man who died from COVID-19 after his wife contracted the virus at work can sue her workplace, See's Candies, for wrongful death, holding that the suit isn't preempted by the exclusivity provisions of the state's Workers' Compensation Act (WCA).

Matilde Ek and her three daughters sued See's Candies over the April 2020 death of her husband, Arturo Ek, from COVID-19. According to the lawsuit, Matilde contracted COVID-19 in March 2020 while working on the candy company's packing line and gave the virus to her husband. The suit claims the company did not implement appropriate social distancing measures on that packing line to prevent the spread of the virus.

The lawsuit, filed in December 2020 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleged general negligence, premises liability, and wrongful death.


In the wake of the tragedy at the Houston Astroworld music festival, many people wonder what, if any, legal duty of care should be imposed to protect concert goers? In California, a court of appeal has held that operators of music festivals have a special relationship with its invitees and owe them a duty of care under California Civil Code § 1714 because they depended on the operator to provide medical care and adequate security. Dix v. Live Nation Entertainment, Inc., (2020) 56 Cal.App.5th 590. The Dix opinion was issued a few months before the California Supreme Court’s recent decision in Brown v. USA Taekwondo (2021) 11 Cal. 5th 204, which clarified the analysis used to determine if a defendant has a legal duty to take action to protect a plaintiff from injuries caused by a third party.


To find out if a nursing home or care facility has a history of complaints or citations for faulty care, visit the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) website ( or call the state Health Facilities Inspection Division at (800) 228-1019.

To find out if a senior-care facility has been cited for negligence resulting in a patient’s death, visit CDPH's website ( or call the state Health Facilities Inspection Division at (800) 228-1019.

Nursing home quality ratings are posted on the Medicare website (

To check if a health-care provider is licensed, visit the Medical Board of California's website (

To review the credentials of a doctor, registered or vocational nurse or another medical professional, visit the state Department of Consumer Affairs "License Lookup" website (

The credentials of a home-health aide, a certified nurse assistant or others may be checked by visiting the CDPH website ( or calling (916) 327-2445.

To check out residential elder-care facilities, visit the state Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division website (

To get help or to report abuse, call the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Hotline at (877) 4-R-SENIORS ((877) 477-3646). You also may report abuse online through the Los Angeles County Adult Protective Services website (

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Los Angeles County Bar Association

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